Modern farm policy emerged in the United States in 1862, leading to an industrialized agriculture that made the farm sector collectively more successful even as many individual farmers failed. Ever since, a healthy farm economy has been seen as the key to flourishing rural communities, and the problems of rural nonfarmers, former farmers, nonfarm residents, and unfarmed regions were ignored by policymakers.
In The Failure of National Rural Policy, William P. Browne blends history, politics, and economics to show that federal government emphasis on farm productivity has failed to meet broader rural needs and actually has increased rural poverty. He explains how strong public institutions, which developed agrarianism, led to narrowed concepts of the public interest. Reviewing past efforts to expand farm policy benefits to other rural residents, Browne documents the fragmentation of farm policy within the agricultural establishment as farm services grew, the evolution of political turf protection, and the resultant difficulties of rural advocacy. Arguing for an integrated theory of governing institutions and related political interests, he maintains that nonfarm rural society can make a realistic claim for public policy assistance.
Written informally, each chapter is followed by comments on the implications of its topics and summaries of key points. The book will serve as a stimulating text for students of public policy, national affairs, rural sociology, and community development—as well as anyone concerned with the future of agrarian America.
Synthesizing theory, personal research, and prior studies on interest groups and other lobbies, William P. Browne offers a new, insightful overview of organized political interests and explains how and why they affect public policy.
Drawing on his extensive experience researching interest groups, Browne assesses the impact that special interests have long had in shaping policy. He explains how they fit into the policymaking process and into society, how they exercise their influence, and how they adapt to changing circumstances.
Browne describes the diversity of existing interests-associations, businesses, foundations, churches, and others-and explores the multidimensional tasks of lobbying, from disseminating information through making financial contributions to cultivating the media. He shows how organized interests target not just the public and policymakers but even other interest groups, and how they create policy niches as a survival strategy. He also looks at winnable issues, contrasts them with more difficult ones, and explains what makes the difference.
Groups, Interests, and U.S. Public Policy is a serious study written in a lighthearted tone. It offers political scientists a new theory of how and why interest groups influence public policy while it enlightens students and general readers about how policy is actually shaped in America.
Interest and Institutions is a collection of essays written by distinguished political scientist Robert Salsibury, a leading analyst of interest group politics. He offers his theories on the workings and influence of groups, organizations, and individuals in many different areas of American politics.
Integration in Europe has been a slow incremental process focusing largely on economic matters. Policy makers have tried to develop greater support for the European Union by such steps as creating pan-European political institutions. Yet significant opposition remains to policies such as the creation of a single currency. What explains continued support for the European Union as well as opposition among some to the loss of national control on some questions? Has the incremental process of integration and the development of institutions and symbols of a united Europe transformed public attitudes towards the European Union?
In this book, Matthew Gabel probes the attitudes of the citizens of Europe toward the European Union. He argues that differences in attitudes toward integration are grounded in the different perceptions of how economic integration will affect individuals' economic welfare and how perceptions of economic welfare effect political attitudes. Basing his argument on Easton's idea that where affective support for institutions is low, citizens will base their support for institutions on their utilitarian appraisal of how well the institutions work for them, Gabel contends that in the European Union, citizens' appraisal of the impact of the Union on their individual welfare is crucial because their affective support is quite low.
This book will be of interest to scholars studying European integration as well as scholars interested in the impact of public opinion on economic policymaking.
Matthew Gabel is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Kentucky.
In the late 1960s, colleges and universities became deeply embroiled in issues of racial equality. To combat this, hundreds of new programs were introduced to address the needs of “high-risk” minority and low-income students. In the years since, university policies have flip-flopped between calls to address minority needs and arguments to maintain “Standard English.” Today, anti-affirmative action and anti-access sentiments have put many of these high-risk programs at risk.
In Interests and Opportunities, Steve Lamos chronicles debates over high-risk writing programs on the national level, and locally, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Using critical race theorist Derrick Bell’s concept of “interest convergence,” Lamos shows that these programs were promoted or derailed according to how and when they fit the interests of underrepresented minorities and mainstream whites (administrators and academics). He relates struggles over curriculum, pedagogy, and budget, and views their impact on policy changes and course offerings.
Lamos finds that during periods of convergence, disciplinary and institutional changes do occur, albeit to suit mainstream standards. In divergent times, changes are thwarted or undone, often using the same standards. To Lamos, understanding the past dynamics of convergence and divergence is key to formulating new strategies of local action and “story-changing” that can preserve and expand race-consciousness and high-risk writing instruction, even in adverse political climates.
Governments throughout the industrialized world make decisions that fundamentally affect the quality and accessibility of medical care. In the United States, despite the absence of universal health insurance, these decisions have great influence on the practice of medicine.
In Medical Governance, David Weimer explores an alternative regulatory approach to medical care based on the delegation of decisions about the allocation of scarce medical resources to private nonprofit organizations. He investigates the specific development of rules for the U.S. organ transplant system and details the conversion of a voluntary network of transplant centers to one private rulemaker: the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).
As the case unfolds, Weimer demonstrates that the OPTN is more efficient, nimble, and better at making evidence-based decisions than a public agency; and the OPTN also protects accountability and the public interest more than private for-profit organizations. Weimer addresses similar governance arrangements as they could apply to other areas of medicine, including medical records and the control of Medicare expenditures, making this timely and useful case study a valuable resource for debates over restructuring the U.S. health care system.
"Criticisms of Mancur Olson's theory of group membership and organizational behavior and discussions of the limits of his formulations are not new, but Terry Moe has set them forth in thoroughgoing fashion, has elaborated and extended them, and has made positive new contributions. The result is a book that is valuable and constructive, one that may well revive interest in the systematic study of political groups."—David B. Truman, American Political Science Review
"The Organization of Interests is a valuable addition to the literature. It reminds us that the interior life of groups has political significance and gives us a conceptual framework for exploring that life. It balances nicely between the pluralists—who tend to interpret interest group behaviour entirely in political terms—and Olson—who has no satisfactory explanation for behaviour that is not attributable to economic self-interest. In the concept of the entrepreneur Moe gives us a useful analytical device which deserves operationalization. The book is well worth study."—A. Paul Pross, Canadian Journal of Political Science
For more than three decades, Rogers M. Smith has been one of the leading scholars of the role of ideas in American politics, policies, and history. Over time, he has developed the concept of “political peoples,” a category that is much broader and more fluid than legal citizenship, enabling Smith to offer rich new analyses of political communities, governing institutions, public policies, and moral debates.
This book gathers Smith’s most important writings on peoplehood to build a coherent theoretical and historical account of what peoplehood has meant in American political life, informed by frequent comparisons to other political societies. From the revolutionary-era adoption of individual rights rhetoric to today’s battles over the place of immigrants in a rapidly diversifying American society, Smith shows how modern America’s growing embrace of overlapping identities is in tension with the providentialism and exceptionalism that continue to make up so much of what many believe it means to be an American.
A major work that brings a lifetime of thought to bear on questions that are as urgent now as they have ever been, Political Peoplehood will be essential reading for social scientists, political philosophers, policy analysts, and historians alike.